*Do Dean's Homework!* Team 48 Success Story

Well today was an exciting one for Team 48 (and ultimately Team 379) and served as a wonderful demonstration of what a FIRST team can quickly accomplish with the support of its local elected Congressmen and women. If we all work diligently (and persistently) to complete Dean’s in-season homework assignment, we can all propel FIRST forward together! It works!

The fun all started at 10:00 AM this morning when our local U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH 17th) visited Warren G. Harding High School. He stopped by to congratulate our students on winning consecutive Regional Chairman’s Awards at the Buckeye Regional. Each of the kids received a personalized certificate, and their names will be placed in the Congressional Record. He also gave quite an inspirational speech to those in attendance, urging the students to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed, persist in their studies, and lift up the community and ultimately the country by pursuing further education and the technical careers that will drive 21st Century progress. He rightly pointed out to our kids that they and our community businesses were no longer just competing with the “guy down the street”; instead, we are now sharing the stage with a global cast of characters.

It turns out Mr. Ryan is on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and more importantly the 21st Century Competitiveness Subcommittee, so it’s no surprise he mentioned these topics to our kids. His membership on these committees puts him in a great position to jointly pursue the spread of FIRST throughout our region with us. Following his speech, several other team leaders and I took the opportunity to talk with the Congressman for a good 20 minutes. We first delivered a printed copy of our “homework” email to him, and we’ve asked him to help spread the news of FIRST to other neighboring representatives who don’t have any teams in their districts. We described our persistent yet to-date unrealized efforts to spread FIRST to additional high schools in the community, mentioning that the initial monetary investment is always the stumbling block for the schools we approach (we don’t reside in a very economically-viable region right about now). We also mentioned our efforts to expand FLL in our area, which have met with better success. Upon hearing our concerns, Congressman Ryan offered to arrange and attend a multi-county meeting of school administrators and educators, business leaders, and technical professionals to sit down with our team and get down to the serious business of finally starting up some rookie teams. We are extremely encouraged by this news and thankful to Mr. Ryan for offering to help us on such a generous level.

Now for the fun part. During our conversation with the Congressman, we decided to speak on behalf of Team 379, the Girard Robocats. These guys are our neighbors in Trumbull County, so we knew they had won the Engineering Inspiration Award at Detroit and had been trying desperately to raise the money for Atlanta. These guys win the KPC&B Entrepreneurship Award almost every place they go, and they are fundraising fiends, and we offered to help out with bus transportation and shared hotel rooms, but they just couldn’t raise enough this time around.

Upon hearing their story, Mr. Ryan wanted to help out (and fast!). He got on the phone with 379’s team leader, Joe, while I called up FIRST to find out if registration for Atlanta was still possible. It turned out that someone pulled out of the competition and their spot was available, but FIRST needed payment confirmation TODAY. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Congressman asked Joe over the phone how much his team would need to be able to make it to Atlanta. Joe told him, “$6000”. Mr. Ryan wrote down $12,000. Not more than an hour or so later, the Congressman arrived at Girard High School to present the robotics team students with the news. And we thought the government was slow!

I don’t know where he obtained the funds on such short notice, nor do I care! All I know is that Team 48 is glad to have such a wonderful local ally in spreading the FIRST message, and that Team 379 is one lucky group of people. I hope they have loads of fun with us down in Atlanta, and I hope they put any leftover money from that gift to good use within their team and community. Knowing them, I’m sure they will.

WFMJ-21 News Report - On Congressman Ryan’s Visit

(I love the “50,000 times more important than football” reference - our community is fixated upon high school football. We’re trying to shift their focus away from that a bit! Also, despite our attempts to correct them, the local media still has trouble separating the Chairman’s Award from the actual competition winner)

"Members of the Warren G. Harding robotics team received personal congratulations from Congressman Tim Ryan.

"The 34 students and their advisors from Delphi took first place for the second straight year in regional competition.

“Ryan told the students that their accomplishment is 50,000 times more important than what happens on the football field.”

WKBN-27 News Report - On Girard’s Surprise Gift

"17th District Congressman Tim Ryan delivered some good news to the Girard High school Robotics Team.
“The team advanced to national competition but because of a lack of funding had to withdraw. However Congressman Ryan stopped by the school today to tell the students he was able to secure the 12-thousand-dollars they needed to go. The nationals will take place April 27th through April 29th in Atlanta, Georgia.”

That is just amazing that he was able to secure $12,000 on the spot with no notice. Awesome job!

What was 379’s reaction?

WKBN-TV out of Youngstown was there to record the presentation. It was aired on the 6 o’clock news. They seemed quite surprised, seeing as this all came about in the span of about 2 hours. They had no idea it was coming. It would have been nice to go over to Girard to be a part of the presentation, but we Delphi engineers and Harding teachers do have day jobs. :slight_smile:

That is beautiful. Congratulations to you and to your neighboring team. You are a very inspirational success story.

I would like to thank Team 48 Delphi ELITE for everything this year. I was a team member for 379 for four years and while still attending ITT Technical Institute I help mentor the team from Girard. I know it was a big surprise when I was sitting at home and around 2:30 this afternoon my cell phone rang. It was a team member almost crying on the phone. I asked him what was wrong and he had asked me what I was doing on April 25th. My response was school and work (what else is new in college). He was like “How would you like to go to Atlanta” I was just like huh. He had mentioned the story that Travis from Team 48 Delphi ELITE had just explained and I couldn’t believe it. In the background on the phone I hear just a bunch of commotion and he said that everyone was running around like a chicken with their heads cut off. Everyone is soooooooooo excited to be participating in the national championship this year. It had seemed that the year had ended abruptly, no closure because we weren’t attending Nationals. I can speak for myself and team 379 that “We Graciously Accept” and want to thank Tim Ryan and Team 48 for helping us on our long road to nationals. Hope to See Everyone at Nationals, and at some point in time hope everyone stops by and says HI. As of right now we are in newton and looks like it will be staying like that. Good luck and hope to be partying with everyone in Atlanta.

Team 236 is having Congressman Rob Simmons come on Wendsday and we are showing him the ropes. Hopefully it will be as successful as your visit.

These guys win the KPC&B Entrepreneurship Award almost every place they go, and they are fundraising fiends,

As Travis has said Yes we are Fundraising Fiends and we have won that award 5 times in four years. To not have a main corporate sponsor you have to be fundraising fiends. I’ve been a team member for six years four as a member and two as advisor/mentor. I’ve seen many competitions and I still wonder how we get this award this much lol.

On behalf of team 379, the Robocats, we thank Warren D.E.L.P.H.I. Elite for bringing our situation to the attention of Tim Ryan. We had given up hope after 3 weeks of intense efforts at raising the $12,000 needed to attend nationals! We’d even met with our senior team members just 5 hours prior to Mr. Ryan’s visit to tell them that going to Nationals was just not going to happen. So, all of this was a surprise even to the advisors!

After raising about $20,000 in the past ten months, it seems we’d already drained every resource we could find. But, along came Tim Ryan to tell our team that he was there to help us achieve what the team had already earned.

His message to us was similar to the message he gave Warren earlier that morning: “nothing, not even football or basketball, is more important that what you are doing” (this after talking about his high school days as a football player).

Just for the record, Mr. Ryan did not call the media (TV Ch. 27 WKBN), we did (and they were there 45 minutes after we called – it all happened within 3 hours!). In addition to being a fundraising machine, we pride ourselves on being a PR machine too! We had been featured on 3 three-minute live TV spots on that station in March and called to give that station an exclusive, and there they were! We also had our city’s mayor, several Board of Education members, and city council members in attendance.

As for our team members’ reactions – let’s just say they were called out of class for a team meeting and then all these officials walked in. They tell me that at first they thought they were all there to present a certificate and thank them for a great season. But, even the city and school officials didn’t know the real reason for the meeting – they were just invited to come because Mr. Ryan was going to be meeting with our team! Quite a surprise for everyone! Or should I say shock!
I will say that once everyone left and the team was alone, it really began to sink in as to what had just happened, the excitement and the emotions just continued to build!

Finally, I want to add that Mr. Ryan is a truly genuine man. Over 4 years ago he drove our robot at “Niles Day at the Ballpark” and when I brought it up to him today he remembered! (No, it wasn’t just a political act!)

This has truly been one of those days that makes being an educator, teacher and advisor worthwhile and I see that all of the efforts of the team members (and other team’s members) results in something truly extraordinary, amazing and worthwhile.

I neglected to state this in my first post, but those links up above lead to names of other Representatives on these committees, who are spread out throughout the country. Since they are tasked with working on educational and competitiveness problems directly, each of these people would most likely have a stronger interest in expanding programs like FIRST, starting within their own districts. If any of you check out this list and find out one of these people serves within your region, I strongly urge you to contact them. If these associated Congressmen and women collectively hop on board the FIRST train, it will be that much easier to inject the FIRST bug throughout all of Congress.

Attached is a picture of Congressman Rob Simmons driving our practice robot under the guidance of one of our students. He did pretty well.

The second attachment shows the Congressman doing the Tick Dance with our team. He has a great sense of humor - he concluded a statement he made later in his visit by doing the dance we’d taught him without prompting!

Congressman Simmons was enthusiastic about the FIRST program, and invited our team to visit his office in Washington DC, after we get back from Atlanta. He said that whether we win or lose there, his offer stands to assist us in making a statement from the floor of the House, raising Congressional awareness about FIRST.

The Congressman told the team members that they are “lucky to live in a portion of our country where technology is truly respected and truly applied. For instance, explorer Bob Ballard (who lives in Lyme, CT) is using robots to explore undersea environments, and Electric Boat (in Groton, CT) is currently developing unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) to operate in remote areas and hostile environments, where we don’t want to put people at risk.”

Mr Simmons congratulated the team members for encouraging Palestinian students seeking to participate in FIRST. He “applauded (the students) for reaching out across boundaries.”

This comment was in response to our informing him that our team has been focusing on forging relationships with students in Israel, some of whom are coming to compete at the Nationals this year. In addition, one of our mentors served as a judge at the Israeli Regional in March.

We are very excited about the Congressman’s offer to speak to the entire House!

TO ALL TEAMS: please send your ideas for what we can include in our presentation to the House to the lead student for our team’s Public Relations Committee, Elene Birch (ebirch@region18.org).

We can use your suggestions for other items to include, but we would like to hear your individual stories about how FIRST inspired your students to pursue an education and careers in science and technology.

For example, I can tell you proudly that my son is just finishing his second year at Northeastern University, where he is studying mechanical engineering. Brian got excited about choosing that field of study, and he has the confidence and competence to do well, due to the experiences he had in 5 years of FIRST participation (he joined in 8th grade).



Absolutely amazing! Congrats to both teams! What a terrific example of the government really stepping up. I guess Dean knew what he was talking about when he said get the gov’t involved :smiley:

Team 75 also recieved a gracious donation from our local congressman Biondi when we earned a spot at nats and needed money.

Hopefully 48’s success serves as motivation for other teams to get their local government involved!

Amazing story, congrats on the good work! Keep this up!